Japanese ‘umeboshi’ pickled plums suppress coronavirus reproduction: study
MINABE, Wakayama — Japanese “umeboshi” pickled plums may help curb the spread of the coronavirus, an inter-prefectural research group recently announced.
The team comprised of researchers from Tokai University School of Medicine based in Isehara, Kanagawa Prefecture, Osaka Kawasaki Rehabilitation University in Kaizuka, Osaka Prefecture, and the National Institute of technology, from Wakayama College in Wakayama Prefecture’s Gobo announced the discovery at a meeting on June 1. press conference at the town hall of Minabe in Wakayama. The group launched the research in October 2020 after being commissioned by the city of Minabe.
The researchers compared viral reproduction in cultured cell samples, with one set treated only with coronavirus particles and another with coronavirus mixed with umeboshi extract. They also changed the extract concentration levels when studying umeboshi-infused samples.
They found that viral reproduction was suppressed in cell samples with umeboshi extract, and the higher the concentration of extract, the greater the effect. The group also claims that in addition to the original strain of coronavirus, the same result has been confirmed for the alpha, delta and omicron variants. The team now plans to move on to identifying the reproductive inhibiting ingredient.
When asked at the press conference if eating umeboshi could prevent coronavirus infection, Tokai University School of Medicine experimental pathology professor Susumu Takekoshi, who was involved in the research, said: “We cannot know for sure without an epidemiological study”. At the same time, he told the conference that he thought the umeboshi extract “worked well” in the cultured cell experiment.
(Japanese original by Yukihiro Takeuchi, Tanabe Field Office)